The Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards has presented its Community Heroine of the Year award to Carol Ann Shanahan OBE at this year’s ceremony, which took place on Friday 1 April 2022.
This year’s prestigious Community Heroine of the Year award celebrates an individual who has made a vital contribution to their community throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The judges were unanimous in their decision to present the award to Carol Ann Shanahan OBE, a businesswoman and Chair of Port Vale Football Club, for her pioneering work with the children’s charity she founded – the Hubb Foundation – and the Port Vale community hub.
Carol is the Founder and Trustee of the Hubb Foundation, a charity based in Stoke-on-Trent which operates from schools and community centres, supporting children and their families with activities and food during school holiday periods. During the Covid-19 lockdown, Carol oversaw the transformation of Port Vale Football Club into a thriving community hub which supported thousands of families across the city during the pandemic.
Leading a team of her own staff and volunteers, local businesses and staff, as well as representatives from the Port Vale Foundation and Hubb Foundation charities, Carol enabled the delivery of more than 350,000 meals to homes and community venues across Stoke-on-Trent, to help children and families in need.
Hubb Foundation staff also worked closely with more than 50 schools across the Potteries to identify the most vulnerable families, providing them with shopping and food deliveries. Carol also facilitated links with school improvement projects to provide academic resources for young people, with more than 6,500 activity packs delivered to youngsters across the city.
As a result of these efforts, Port Vale FC was named the EFL’s Community Club of the Year in 2021 – the best of the 72.
Carol was chosen as this year’s Community Heroine by a special Women of the Year judging panel – the first ever all-female finalists from BBC One’s MasterChef 2019, winner Irini Tzortzoglou and runners-up Jilly McCord and Delia Maria Asser.
The annual awards ceremony marked its 40th anniversary this year, as it returned to the Hilton Metropole Birmingham after a year of absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zalena Vandrewala, Chair of the Awards, said: “We are delighted to name Carol as our Community Heroine of the Year. She is an incredibly deserving winner and we’re so pleased to highlight her incredible contribution during Covid-19. Such acts of kindness and generosity were so vital to communities during the pandemic, and we are in awe of her determination and perseverance. It is thanks to people like Carol, and the teams of willing volunteers around her, that thousands of families in Stoke-on-Trent received crucial support. We’re so proud to welcome Carol to today’s ceremony in recognition of her important work.”
Carol Ann Shanahan OBE commented on her win, saying: “I am incredibly proud to receive the Community Heroine Award. In reality it is a reflection on the efforts of many staff and volunteers who came together to work with and for the Port Vale community hub during the most unprecedented and challenging of times. I am so thankful for the way in which our organisations – Port Vale FC and sister company Synectics Solutions, the Hubb Foundation charity and the Port Vale Foundation charity – and many other individuals, organisations and local businesses came together to support local families in their time of need. The impact we have had has been truly humbling and the partnerships and relationships we have built during this period will be so important going forward.”
Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards was established in 1982 as a ladies’ luncheon to raise vital funds for charitable causes and to highlight and celebrate the many and varied achievements of women.
Since then, the annual awards have gone from strength to strength both as an event and as a movement to promote women’s achievements. Over the last four decades, winners have included Baroness Karren Brady CBE, Katie Piper, Dame Asha Khemka DBE (Principal and CEO of West Nottinghamshire College) and British Paralympian, Martine Wright MBE.
This year’s ceremony welcomed keynote speaker Team GB Paralympian and World No 3 Seed, wheelchair tennis player, Lucy Shuker as well as nearly 600 professionals from the private and public sectors.
Women of the Year President, Sally Lindsay, added: “Carol is so inspiring and just one example of the many thousands of incredible women who came together to support their local community during the many challenges of the pandemic. After a year of absence due to Covid-19, and as we mark our 40th anniversary, this year’s awards ceremony has been a wonderful opportunity to celebrate amazing women and their extraordinary achievements.”
All proceeds from this year’s Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards will go directly to charity, with just under £600,000 raised to date. For 2022, the event will support The Prince’s Trust: Women Supporting Women Initiative, a passionate group of supporters who are committed to changing the lives of young women, and NHS Charities Together which continues to support our NHS in the life saving work that they do.
For more information, please visit www.womenoftheyear.org.uk.